Rightly or wrongly, I judge a city by its downtown. After all, there isn’t much to a suburb, or city, if there is no center. I realize that the newer American cities, which grew after World War II, sprawled out. Certainly, Austin and other Texas cities are guilty of this, but nothing I think, compared to Phoenix.
There doesn’t seem to be much to the downtown of this place. And, my sister who lives there, also agrees. But, as I flew over the downtown, on the way to San Francisco, Phoenix seemed larger than I remembered. We changed planes at the airport for our next leg out to California.
After some research, I discovered that the city is the fifth largest in the United States at 1.6 million. There’s been a little downtown skyscraper development in the last few years, but not much. Its big downtown boom appeared to happen in the 70’s and 80’s. Austin, by contrast, while smaller has a more happening downtown. We have taller buildings and a dynamic and still growing core, which Phoenix lacks.
Taller doesn’t mean better, of course. Though that might be a point of pride for the average Texan. No, my measure of a downtown is how vibrant it is. Are people walking downtown at all hours? Or does it empty out after 5PM?
Please support this blog by clicking on my Amazon Link before buying anything.